The consortium behind one of the bids for a Welsh Freeport has said news that two green Freeports are to be established in Scotland demonstrates the job-creating potential of floating offshore wind power which is at the heart of its own proposal.
The UK and Scottish governments have jointly confirmed that Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport and Forth Green Freeport have been successful in their bids.
Backed by up to £52m in UK Government funding, the green Freeports are set to bring new, high-skilled jobs to the areas.
The news was hailed by Celtic Freeport whose bid is backed to accelerate inward investment in new manufacturing facilities to support the roll-out of floating offshore wind from the Celtic Sea, while providing the backbone for a cleaner future based on the hydrogen economy, sustainable fuels, carbon capture, cleaner steel and low-carbon logistics.
"We welcome the joint announcement by UK and Scottish Government ministers that two green Freeports will be established in Cromarty and Forth, which underlines the huge potential that exists around floating offshore wind power (FLOW) to create UK jobs, drive innovation and stimulate economic growth," said Roger Maggs, chair of the Celtic Freeport Consortium.
"Just like the Celtic Freeport bid in South West Wales, both successful bids in Scotland had FLOW at their core but also recognised the opportunity to build high-quality, sustainable supply chains and included clear commitments to future skills programmes.
He added: "The Crown Estate will soon be opening the next round of auctions for FLOW sites in the Celtic Sea, which makes the timing of the Freeport decision in Wales absolutely crucial. We want to send a clear message that our ports in Milford Haven and Port Talbot are ready to step up to the challenge and maximise the opportunity for Wales and the UK in this exciting new industry."
The Celtic Freeport is expected to generate more than 16,000 jobs and up to £5.5bn of new investment.
The successful Welsh Freeport bid will be revealed in early spring 2023, with the Freeport being established by the summer of 2023.
There are also Freeport bids from Anglesey Freeport and a Newport City Council-led public-private proposal.